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Pets during a Disaster

Bring your pets inside immediately. Animals have instincts about severe weather changes and will often isolate themselves if they are afraid. Bringing them inside early can keep them from running away. NEVER LEAVE A PET OUTSIDE OR TIED UP DURING A STORM! If you have no alternative but to leave your pet at home, there are some precautions you must take, but remember that leaving your pet at home alone can place your animal in danger! Confine your pet to a safe area inside. Place a notice outside in a visible area, advising what pets are in the house and where they are located. Provide a phone number where you or a contact can be reached as well as the name and number of your vet.


  • Transport in a secure travel cage or carrier.
  • In cold weather, wrap a blanket over the carrier and warm up the car before placing birds inside.
  • During warm weather, carry a plant mister to mist the bird's feathers periodically.
  • Do not put water inside the carrier during transport. Provide a few slices of fresh fruits and vegetables with high water content.
  • Have leg bands and a photo for ID.
  • Try to keep the carrier in a quiet area.
  • Do not let the birds out of the cage or carrier.


  • Snakes can be transported in a pillowcase but they must be transferred to more secure housing when they reach the evacuation site.
  • If your snakes require frequent feedings, carry food with you.
  • Take a water bowl large enough for soaking as well as a heating pad.
  • When transporting house lizards, follow the same directions as for birds.


  • Small mammals [hamster, gerbils, etc.] should be transported in secure carriers suitable for maintaining the animals while sheltered.
  • Take bedding materials, food, bowls, and water bottles.


  • In the first few days after a disaster, leash your pets when they go outside. Always maintain close contact. Familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and your pet may become confused and lost. The behavior of your pets may change after an emergency. Normally quiet and friendly pets may become aggressive or defensive. Watch animals closely. Leash dogs and place them in a fenced yard with access to shelter and water.